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New Study Examines Injuries to U.S. Workers with Disabilities

Workers with disabilities are injured at more than twice the rate as workers without disabilities


Columbus, OH - 8/6/2012

A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University compared medically attended noncccupational and occupational injuries among U.S. workers with and without disabilities.

The study, appearing online in the American Journal of Public Health, found that workers with disabilities are significantly more likely to experience both nonoccupational and occupational injuries than those without disabilities. Rates of nonoccupational and occupational injuries were 16.4 and 6.0 per 100 workers per year for workers with disabilities and 6.4 and 2.3 per 100 workers per year for workers without disabilities, respectively.

"The increase in occupational injuries to workers with disabilities found in our study shows the need for better accommodation and safety programs in the workplace and the need for a safer working environment,” said the study’s co-author Huiyun Xiang, MD, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy and an Associate Professor of the Division of Epidemiology at The Ohio State University College of Public Health. "Outreach programs that teach U.S. workers with disabilities occupational safety and health skills could play a significant role in preventing injuries.”

Regardless of the disability status, falls and transportation were the two leading mechanisms of both occupational and nonoccupational injuries among U.S. workers. Thus, improving the safety of the working environment will help to not only reduce the occurrence of fall- and transportation-related injuries among workers with disabilities, but will also benefit those without disabilities.

Data for this study were obtained from the 2006-2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) which used computer-assisted personal interviews to collect data about medically treated injuries that occurred during the three months prior to the interview. 

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research as its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy and advances in clinical care. For related injury prevention materials or to learn more about CIRP visit http://www.injurycenter.org.

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